Death is Swallowed Up in Victory

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O death, where is your victory? 1 Corinthians 15:54-55)O death, where is your sting?” (

On the night of May 6, we received a phone call with the news that my wife’s brother and parents were involved in a very serious car accident. As we drove to Seattle, additional phone calls confirmed that the brother received minor injuries, but that both parents went to be with their Lord Jesus.

Earlier in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul concludes that if we only have hope in Christ in this life, we are the most to be pitied. Pouring our lives into others in imitation of Christ would be profitless and, worse, a missed opportunity to spend all our energy drinking and making merry. But we know that Christ rose from the dead as the first fruits of his brothers and sisters. He put on the imperishable. He put on immortality. Death was swallowed up in victory!

The proximity of death—a seemingly random bus collision—perhaps is as shocking as the nature of the accident. This was the clearest kind of reminder that God holds our every moment in his hand. In Psalm 90, Moses asks that God would teach him to number his days so that he would have a heart of wisdom. Knowing and walking in the reality that God could call us home at any moment is a refreshing and poignant reminder that our faith is founded on the Rock that has clothed two more children with immortality.

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8b)